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NCC to Take Internet Penetration to South-south Hinterland

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Internet Usage
  • NCC to Take Internet Penetration to South-south Hinterland

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that it would take its campaign for usage of the internet as a means of communication and wealth creation to all the hinterlands of the South-south zone of the country.

The NCC stated that this was aimed at creating employment opportunities for thousands of youths in the region through the use various opportunities provided by the internet.

The disclosure was made at a two-day workshop on Information and Communication Technology Utilisation and Sustainability for South-South zone, staged recently in Calabar, by the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), with the theme: ‘Information and Communication Technology Engagement through knowledge-based Development.’

Speaking at the event, the Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta, said that the commission was currently implementing an eight-point agenda with the strategic vision of 2015-2020, which included promoting innovation, investment, competition and consumer empowerment.

Danbatta, who was represented by the Head of Strategy, USPF, Mr. Kelechi Nwakwo, said, for a start, the NCC has commenced the penetration of the rural communities with a project tagged “Community Resource Centre and School Knowledge Centre are the programmes.”

He said the workshop was a strategic step towards providing the necessary information to the youths in the state on how they can use Information and Communication Technology (ICT), especially the social media to become economically self reliant.

Stressing that there are so many things that can be done with the social media to generate wealth, Danbatta said: “Advertisement on Goggle is much more than any media company in Nigeria can think of. That is basically why we are doing this workshop to build capacity for young Nigerians to be involved in the ICT.

“Not just for social media events, but as a tool for business, and to make money and grow the national economy. We will be building capacity for people on how to develop Applications that they can use for profitable business.

“Our agenda is for everyone everywhere to have the opportunity to acquire ICT knowledge that is why we are reaching the rural areas and un-served areas but the action of some people is stalling that effort. However, we will remain undaunted in our effort to increase internet penetration across Nigeria.”

In his remarks, the Secretary of the USPF, Mr. Ayuba Shuaibu, said that the programme was aimed at “providing universal access to information and communication services in un-served areas and community links.”

However, Shuaibu lamented in some rural communities the ICT equipments were not being protected and utilised.

“We spend a lot of money replacing stolen and vandalised equipment in rural communities where we set up resource centres to bring ICT close to everyone, but some people have formed the habit of stealing the equipment while schools simply lock up their knowledge centres without putting them to use,” he said.

In another development, the NCC and its sponsored small and medium enterprise (SME) Startups, brought honour to Nigeria during the just concluded ITU Telecom World 2017 in Busan, South Korea.
NCC was named the most Valuable Partner by the ITU for its commitment and participation in ITU Telecom World events over the years. The commission was also awarded a certificate of Appreciation for the ITU Telecom World 2017 National Pavilion and thematic Pavilion as well as Loyal Participation and supporters of the yearly ITU Telecom World in a number of years.

Nigeria also won the ITU Telecom World Government Award for being the government with the most innovative SMEs that featured at this year’s’ ITU Telecom World.

Five out of six technology startups, who were groomed and selected from Nigeria by the NCC for global pitching at the ITU Telecom World conference in Busan, South Korea, were eventually selected for the global pitching by the organisers.

The five SME startups, from Nigeria scaled through the rigorous selection exercise, organised by a team of judges representing various countries of the world.

They joined other 21 SME startups, making a total of 26 startups selected from 12 countries of the world to contest for the final pitch in South Korea.

Among the Nigerian SMEs and start-ups that qualified for the ITU Telecom World 2017 pitch for the Global SMEs Awards, three of the SMEs, Miss Temitope Awosika (Medsaf), Mr. Valentine Ubalua (Ubenwa) and Mr. Chizaram Ucheaga (Mavis Computel), won at the final pitch and made the ITU Global SME honours lists.

Medsaf for instance leverages technology to make the process of buying and selling, and managing medication easy and efficient, connecting hospitals, pharmacies and clinics to safe quality medication from leading local and foreign drug manufacturers.

Ubenwa’s recognition was for leveraging the most innovative use of ICTs category for pioneering a cry-based diagnostic mobile app for birth asphyxia. In addition, Mavis computel’s recognition of Excellence certificate, as the best and most innovative individual exhibitor in the Nigerian pavilion at ITU Telecom World 2017 completed the circle of recognitions in this global event. The certificates were presented to those recognised and won by ITU Secretary General, Mr. Houlin Zhao.

Zhao said he was very encouraged by Nigeria’s participation and told other nations present at the award ceremony to emulate the Nigerian example personified by the NCC; for putting together quality participation every year and bringing to ITU Telecom World 2017 SMEs with innovative ICT digital solutions that have social impact.

Dr. Mustapha Babagana of Nigeria’s Ministry of Communications, received the award on behalf of Nigeria while, Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) Nigeria and Director, Spectrum Administration, NCC, Mr. Austin Nwaulune received the NCC awards on behalf of Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Dangote Oil Refinery Set for December Listing on Nigerian Stock Exchange

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Dangote Refinery

The $20 billion Dangote Oil Refinery is poised to be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) by December 2024, according to statements made by Aliko Dangote, Chairman of the Dangote Group.

Dangote, Africa’s richest man, expressed his enthusiasm for involving Nigerians, Africans, and other investors in what he described as a historic move.

Speaking to The Africa Report, he affirmed, “The listing, most likely, I won’t be surprised if we list (on the Nigerian Stock Exchange) by the end of this year. We will do that.”

This listing, expected to attract significant investor interest, could potentially add about N8 trillion to N10 trillion to the market capitalisation of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, as predicted by economy and capital market analyst Rotimi Fakayejo.

He said such a listing would not only distribute wealth but also attract foreign portfolio investment to the country, bolstering the economy with additional foreign exchange.

Fakayejo further elaborated on the potential impact of the Dangote refinery listing, stating, “It is also going to engender foreign portfolio investment. Such listing will affect individuals in the country and the stocks listed on the Nigerian exchange.”

David Adonri, Vice President of Highcap Securities Limited, echoed this sentiment, highlighting the significance of the listing for the Nigerian capital market.

He said the listing would provide Nigerians with the opportunity to share in the considerable wealth generated by the refinery.

However, uncertainties loom regarding the Dangote refinery’s crude oil supply chain. While Dangote confirmed the refinery’s decision to import crude oil from the United States due to fluctuating Nigerian oil production figures, Minister of State for Petroleum (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, denied knowledge of such imports.

Despite this discrepancy, Dangote defended the decision, stating, “We have tendered to buy some WTI oil from the US because the size of our refinery is very big, and we have to make sure that we secure the raw materials for our production.”

With the refinery set to attain a capacity of 500,000 barrels per day by July and reach its full capacity of 650,000 barrels per day by the end of the year, expectations are high for its transformative impact on Nigeria’s energy sector and broader economy.

The impending listing of the Dangote Oil Refinery represents a significant milestone in Nigeria’s quest for economic growth and diversification.

As stakeholders eagerly await further developments, the prospect of increased market capitalisation and enhanced investor participation holds promise for the country’s economic future.

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Retail Transactions on NGX Plummet by Nearly 55% in April

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Nigerian Exchange Group- Investors King

The retail transactions on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) declined by 54.89% in April to N100.77 billion from N223.37 billion in March.

This significant drop was revealed in the latest Domestic and Foreign Portfolio Investment Report released by the NGX.

The report highlighted that while retail transactions took a substantial hit, institutional transactions also saw a decrease, albeit less severe.

Institutional trading fell by 43.58% to N124.63 billion in April but still outperformed retail activity by a margin of 10%.

Overall, the total value of transactions executed by domestic investors continued to surpass those by foreign investors by approximately 30% in April.

However, the combined domestic transactions saw a steep decline of 49.27%, dropping from N444.28 billion in March to N225.40 billion in April.

Conversely, foreign transactions painted a more positive picture, increasing by 28.19% from N94.26 billion (approximately $70.83 million) in March to N120.83 billion (approximately $90.83 million) in April.

This surge in foreign investment activity provided a somewhat balanced view of the overall market dynamics.

Despite the month-on-month decrease, the total domestic and foreign portfolio transactions in Nigeria’s equity market amounted to N346.23 billion in April, marking a 35.71% decline compared to the N538.54 billion recorded in March.

However, the April figures still reflected a robust year-on-year growth of 81.07%, up from N191.21 billion in April of the previous year, indicating a positive trend in market activity over the longer term.

The report attributed the sharp decline in retail transactions to various market conditions and investor sentiments.

Analysts suggest that the decrease may be linked to economic uncertainties and a cautious approach adopted by retail investors in light of recent market volatilities.

Furthermore, the detailed analysis revealed that domestic investors were the primary drivers of the market, contributing N225.40 billion in April.

This trend underscores the continued dominance of local players in the Nigerian capital market.

Meanwhile, the NGX opened the new week on a slightly positive note, gaining 0.3% to reach 97,864.65 points after suffering three consecutive losses in the previous week.

The market’s year-to-date return improved marginally to 30.9% from the 30.5% recorded at the close of last week, suggesting a resilient market performance despite the recent fluctuations.

In related news, the NGX may sanction 47 companies over delayed audited reports, signaling a crackdown on non-compliance to maintain market integrity.

Also, the Federal Government listed N4.21 billion in April bonds on the NGX, contributing to the overall market activities.

While the drop in retail transactions is a cause for concern, market experts remain cautiously optimistic about the long-term prospects of the Nigerian Exchange.

They emphasize the need for strategic interventions to boost investor confidence and stabilize market activities in the coming months.

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Nigerian Brewers Post Combined Loss of N169.7 Billion

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Nigerian Breweries - Investors King

Nigerian brewers collectively faced a significant setback in the first quarter of 2024.

According to a comprehensive analysis of financial statements from leading brewing companies, including Champion Breweries Plc, Nigerian Breweries Plc, International Breweries Plc, and Guinness Nigeria Plc, the industry reported a combined loss of N169.7 billion.

This downturn is in contrast to the same period last year when three of the four major brewers recorded a total loss of N54.3 billion, while Guinness Nigeria managed to eke out a modest profit of N1.84 billion.

Experts attribute this dramatic reversal to a multitude of factors, with the foremost being the steep devaluation of the Nigerian naira coupled with soaring interest rates.

The fluctuating exchange rates have exacerbated the financial woes of brewing companies, particularly those with significant dollar exposures.

International Breweries, for instance, saw its foreign exchange loss balloon to N162.2 billion in the first quarter of 2024 from an FX gain of N1.22 billion in the same period last year.

Similarly, Nigerian Breweries and Guinness Nigeria reported substantial FX losses of N72.85 billion and N37.06 billion, respectively, compared to much lower losses or gains in the previous year.

Even Champion Breweries, which did not record any FX loss in the comparative period, reported a loss of N0.74 billion in Q1 2024.

Industry analysts emphasize that the weakened naira has intensified the costs associated with servicing foreign debt obligations, further straining profit margins.

The shift to a floating exchange rate regime has led to rapid depreciation of the naira, resulting in significant FX losses across the brewing sector.

Moreover, the decline in consumer spending has added to the sector’s woes. Inflationary pressures have eroded the purchasing power and disposable income of consumers, forcing them to prioritize spending and seek cheaper alternatives.

Femi Egbesola, the national president of the Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria, notes that inflation has significantly reduced consumers’ purchasing power, impacting their willingness to spend on alcoholic beverages.

Furthermore, increased competition from alternative beverages and a more diverse range of beer options have intensified market competition, squeezing profit margins for brewing companies.

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